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5 ways you can beat the quarantine bulge
Weight Loss

5 ways you can beat the quarantine bulge

By Jamie J. Hardy PharmD, BCPS, MS, Clinical Pharmacist | Methodist University Hospital
Posted: March 27, 2020

School closures. Non-essential business closures. Travel strongly discouraged. Large and medium sized gatherings postponed.

These are the realities facing families around the world. Another reality facing many people is the struggle to maintain a healthy lifestyle while staying home during this quarantine. 

The coronavirus quarantine is placing people at risk of abandoning their healthy eating habits due to boredom, stress and disruption of normal routines. This creates a perfect scenario for packing on pounds.

Here are a few practical tips for beating the bulge during a quarantine:

1 — Plan Physical Activities

Being unable to go to the gym or attend your favorite exercise class in person does not give you the green light to ditch the exercise.

Turning on the music for a family dance party is a fun way to get everyone off the couch and moving! Other options include completing virtual workouts led by your favorite celebrities and personal trainers. They are only a click away using YouTube, Facebook or Instagram — or you can subscribe to any number of virtual services.

2 — Maintain Your Regular Meal Schedule

Eating breakfast and lunch are a must to prevent overeating during the day. You are more likely to overeat and make poor food choices if you skip meals.

Just because you are home and only steps away from the kitchen, you shouldn’t ditch meal times and choose to snack constantly instead.

3 — Eat Proper Portions

Build a healthy and delicious plate by filling half of it with vegetables. A quarter of it should be a lean protein and the remainder should be a smart carb — like rice, whole grain pasta or noodles, legumes (beans and lentils), certain types of bread and more.

This combination of fiber, protein and carbohydrates in the proper portion sizes will fill you up while hitting the right flavor notes for your taste buds.


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4 — Clean Up the Menu

We naturally gravitate toward comforting foods during stressful situations. For many people, these foods remind us of happier times and bring back a flood of positive memories.

Favorites tend to be calorie-dense staples like spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, fried chicken, an endless assortment of breads, desserts and more.

Lighten things up a bit by using whole wheat macaroni, whole wheat spaghetti or ground turkey. Instead of a deep fryer, try oven frying chicken with panko breadcrumbs. When thinking about sides, increase the quantity of vegetables on the menu.

5 — Snack Smart

This tip is for all the snackers out there. Snack smart by stocking the kitchen with healthy snacks.

Reach for these whenever a snack is needed.

Greek yogurt cups


Nuts and seeds

Hummus and veggies for dipping

Fresh or dried fruit

Nut butters and whole wheat crackers

Dark chocolate

During these challenging times, it is easy to cast your healthy habits to the side. You can avoid the dreaded quarantine weight gain by finding creative ways to remain physically active at home, cleaning up your meals and snacking smart.